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Estimation of tree growth in a conifer plantation over 19 years from multi-satellite L-band SAR

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journal contribution
posted on 17.06.2009, 15:00 by Heiko Balzter, Laine Skinner, Adrian Luckman, R. Brooke
The general capability of synthetic aperture radar (SAR) for monitoring forest ecosystems is well documented. However, the majority of SAR studies of forest dynamics use only imagery acquired by one SAR system and are thus limited to the lifecycle of a particular satellite. The synergistic analysis of SAR data from one of the earliest spaceborne SAR missions, the SEASAT mission, with the Japanese JERS-1 satellite-borne SAR is presented. Biophysical parameters frequently retrieved from SAR are tree biomass using backscatter and tree height from the interferometric phase. One potential application that has not been thoroughly examined is mapping of incremental tree growth from SAR backscatter changes. Tree growth measures biomass changes over time, and is correlated to the amount of carbon sequestered by the trees. This paper examines the retrieval of tree growth from multitemporal spaceborne L-band SAR. A SEASAT SAR image from 1978 and a JERS-1 SAR image from 1997 over Thetford forest, UK are used to retrieve tree growth of Corsican Pine stands. Incremental growth was estimated from the changes in backscatter coefficient, and compared to the expected tree growth from general yield class models used by the UK Forestry Commission. The accuracy of the retrieval algorithm depends on the minimum forest stand size included in the analysis. For managed forest plantations, multitemporal L-band SAR has some potential for detecting incremental biomass to support sustainable forest management



Remote Sensing of Environment, 2003, 84 (2), pp. 184-191.

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